Meditation

Sermon for 13 Sunday After Pentecost, Proper 18 -09/04/2022

Jeremiah 18:1-11; Psalm 139:1-5, 12-17; Philemon 1:21; Luke 14:25-33

In our lesson from Judah, we read that a family is compared to a community and a community to a nation, and then Jeremiah is sent to the Potter’s House. He observes the pot being made as not so pretty, but it would be fashioned anyway into something less than what the potter intended. Jeremiah, like most of us did not like taking bad news or judgment to people; instead, he preferred to convey news that uplifts people, that God was going to do something wonderful for them. Yet, in these verses, we come to understand that God had been trying to “mold us” into something which would be representative of the peoples obedience and faithfulness to Him, but such was not the case. He even spoke of Israel as that in a Potters Hand, His hands, that was being prepared to be uprooted and destroyed, but if that nation were to repent of its evil, then God would relent and not inflict on it the disaster that He had planned. He then talked about a nation or kingdom was to be built up and planted, and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to o for it.

All of this is not an automatic part of a plan, but if God was going to build up a new town or kingdom, and then saw they were not being obedient to Him and was was doing evil in His sight, whatever the plan was, He would treat it as one who had been disobedient and practicing evil in h is sight. Also, if He was planning on destroying a place for evil or disobedient, then they sought forgiveness for their sinful ways and became obedient to God, He would bless them for their changing their ways to honor Him. The point being, not is set in stone, if we repent of our ways and seek forgiveness, it would not be withheld from them and they would be blessed for their decision to change their way of living.

Our Psalm this morning begins with praise and thanksgiving for answered prayer leading to prayers of thanks. Answered prayers not only helps the person but even more exalts God. Thanks leads us to invite the universe to join us in praise, to gain confidence of God’s help for the future, to catch a new vision of God’s purpose for us and to petition God with renewed energy, love, and faith. Wicked people opposed the prophet and became the psalmist’s enemies. The psalmist testified to personal innocence undeserving of the troubled situation. Thus Go as asked to curse the enemies. Prayer identifies us as God’s people fighting God’s enemies but trusting victory to God’s actions

Let me ask you all a question, have you ever asked someone to write for you a letter of recommendation for you? In Philemon we read where Paul is still in prison, but that he is sending him home, no longer as a slave but rather as a fellow worker in the ministry of Jesus Christ. If you have ever asked for someone to write you a letter of recommendation, then this is without a doubt the best recommendation ever received by anyone. He was given to Paul as a slave, to help him with his travels, and now is being referred to as a son by Paul. “Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me..” Paul was asking to send Onesimus home and to be welcomed by everyone as a fellow worker in Jesus’ ministry. Secondly, he asked for a room to be set aside for himself, as he was hoping to be released soon and felt they would do more than he even asked. This is an example of a prayer full of expectant faith and trust.

In Luke today, Jesus made the statement: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—-Yes, even his own life—-he cannot be my disciple.” And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

“Hate” here does not refer to emotional or mental dislike of the family members mentioned, nor of one’s own life. Instead, it indicates a total rejection of anything and anyone who would block our absolute commitment to Jesus as Lord. Jesus specifically and intentionally sought out devoted disciple’s to create a family of God. Loyalty to God’s family takes precedence over all other loyalties.

Discipleship is a full time job placed before all other priorities and responsibilities. Christ disciples are devoted, obedient followers of Chris. Nothing come before Christ in the life of a disciple. Discipleship is a commitment of our hearts and minds to serving Christ and His teachings in our daily lives now and unto eternity. To take the title of a servant of Christ is serious and heartfelt. Amen

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